I’m so lucky that I took so many wonderful trips this summer, including San Francisco in June, Philadelphia (where I also stayed at a Kimpton brand Monaco Hotel) and New Orleans in early July, and Maine in late July. Like last year, I took a longer vacation at the end of August. Last year it was mystical Argentina (I wrote about it here), and this year, it was the wonderful Pacific NorthWest – well actually, Baltimore, Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver. My goal this year (like last year) was to enjoy a spectacular first-class vacation without breaking the bank. I more than succeeded.
Baltimore was step one of the August vacation. I explain why below.
We started planning, or more correctly, I started planning this trip many months before August (Everyone knows that Won’t Run, also Won’t Plan!). Initially, I thought we’d fly both ways on miles, but sometime earlier this year I caught a crazy airfare of $86 from BWI to SEA on Delta. That is when the idea popped into my head – let’s begin the trip with a mini trip in Baltimore! Kind of like a drink before going out drinking…. And so, the Baltimore idea was born.
Flights from New York to BWI were expensive so we opted for Amtrak. Having waiting until the train fare had skyrocketed, we used our Avios – 4,000 Avios for Penn Station, New York to Penn Station, Baltimore. Buying and then transferring the points from Ultimate Rewards to Amtrak, and then buying the award ticket, was super easy.
I enjoy train rides. Just looking out the window and thinking about nothing makes me happy. I took some pretty photos. A Japanese family was seated across the aisle from us. They were eating gargantuan deli sandwiches from Katz’s Deli. Even at 11 am, the aroma of corned beef or pastrami was enticing. About ten minutes after they finished their sandwiches, they were down for the count – fast asleep.
We arrived in Baltimore and walked from the train station, passing statues such as this:
I didn’t know that Baltimore has it’s own Washington monument:
We arrived at our hotel, the Monaco Hotel, a Kimpton hotel. The price – about $150 per night on a government rate (yes, I am eligible to use that rate). The hotel, with its marble staircases, was majestic and steeped in culture and history. And, I was upgraded to a suite (Kimpton treats their Inner Circle members likes kings and queens!)
Of course we took a walk to the Inner Harbor, and had cocktails and appetizers at the world-famous Phillips Seafood.
We walked around, but of course punctually appeared at the hotel lobby at 5pm, for the infamous, Kimpton Wine Hour! This is the same place where coffee was served in the morning.
We went back out for dinner (ehhhhhh – we never pick good restaurants after an hour of
sipping guzzling wine!).
Oh, I forgot to mention. Every month Kimpton has a special word – which if you say it at check-in – you get a special gift. The word of the month was PICNIC! Guess what we got? Yup, another bottle of wine.
I had a pretty treacherous cold, so I did not run or use the gym. but I did visit the fitness center. Those photos are posted in a separate fitness center review.
Our flight from BWI to SEA was at 2pm, so we left the hotel late morning, and took the light rail. People warned us it was not safe, but the ride was safe and fine.
We arrived at BWI Airport, and went to the Airspace Lounge. Entry was free with our Platinum American Express Cards. We were each given a $10 credit upon entry, which we used to buy two sandwiches. Having toured the Airspace Lounge at JFK, I was curious to see this lounge. It was a nice place to spend an hour. We shared a sandwich and used the internet.
We were upgraded on the Seattle flight, which was nice.
And we were on our way….
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